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Thread: Lightweight tethering options

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    Lightweight tethering options

    Increasingly, I am finding myself in need of something more than the IQ screen for confirming captures in the field - both for focus and exposure.

    Thanks to Ken and Don, I had almost decided on an i7/256GB Surface Pro 3, but a couple of recent announcements have me thinking. Price on all are about the same and still less than what I paid for my tripod head!

    1. Surface Pro 3 - light, great touch interface, tablet format. How is it as a digitizer? Also, what are you guys seeing for battery life with C1?

    2. Dell XPS 13 - at 2.8lbs almost the same weight as the SP3 with keyboard. Looks a little more rugged, higher res screen. Of course the SP3 can be made a lb lighter by removing the keyboard. But the attached keyboard does offer a level of dust protection in the field. Although this has touch, it is not quite a tablet format. Along with the higher res screen, all report indicate incredible battery life. The CPU line is also one generation up from what is in the SP3.

    3. Wait for whatever apple comes out with for the MBA Retina. I suspect this will be more like the Dell XPS 13. The rumoured iPad Pro will likely be a multi-tasking IOS device, so not really a candidate for running C1.

    WWDD (what would Dante Do)?

    Appreciate your thoughts.

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    There are various limitations, imho, that make selection of a "lightweight tethering option" feasible and attractive at the same time. For GetDPI members, a good start is on this thread here:

    http://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-f...edo-mfdbs.html and my blog article here:

    https://kendoophotography.wordpress....digital-backs/ ...and yes, I'll try my best to update the blog soon.

    In a nutshell, there are certain minimum requirements in my mind: USB3 for tethering speed and ease. Tablet format and lightweight. Touchscreen. Core i5/i7 and preferably 8GB RAM with 256GB storage (or more).

    These requirements narrow the field down considerably---at least to find what I call "the Goldilocks of MFDB tethering options" on location. Bluntly, Firewire is out, unless you have an older legacy MFDB, you are left with laptop options and a handful of adapters to deal with. This is all about USB3 enabled MFDBs, meaning IQ series and Leaf Credo. I wish Hassy had joined the USB3 party. Lightweight means tablet format---no laptops. If you can handle the bulk and weight of a laptop working on location, then much more powerful options are available to you. Core i5 or better and 8GB RAM needed to run C1 Pro 8. Touchscreen magic is what makes tethering a natural extension of the MFDB touchscreen to check focus, composition, exposure, and more. That's just cool.

    No doubt that there are other options--there always are when you can throw more money at it! I recall an Apple ipad pro option but it was an expensive customized aftermarket set-up. No doubt Apple would have a prettier solution to anything----but for the moment, the Goldilocks tethering solution offering small, lightweight, and computer power on location is the Surface Pro. And not break the bank.

    I don't tether all the time and don't use a laptop or tablet often, so upgrading to the more mature SP3 is low priority for me. If you use a small computing solution often, I would opt for the SP3. SP3 has better screen and stylus performance, as well as an option to go for the faster Core i7 chipset. I've never run into power issues, but I think estimates by Microsoft are a bit generous, but I think really safe to say well over five hours. There are many power options to extend field use, including using a Vagabond Mini Lithium battery as a charger.

    Imho, the Surface Pro is the goldilock's option. It's just right. WWDD? At the very least Dante would encourage the SP3 loaded for bear, but be careful, if you look hard enough there are customizable super tablets out there for many more times the price of a Surface Pro, and Dante would approve anything that would make a spouse or significant other wince.

    We will have full tethering set-ups with Surface Pro 2 and 3 at our "Not a Workshop Workshop," aka Pigs, aka as, CI in Lake Tahoe, in April. Sorry we've been slow to post here but event registration is on the Capture Integration website. We will have different clamping options, including a new smaller lightweight clamp I just found, not as robust as the Wolf clamp, but lighter and folds flat, about the size of your hand. Not something I'd use all the time, but perhaps when I really wanted to shave weight and size for a longer hike, yet still bring the Surface Pro along.

    Ken

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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    Thanks Ken. I am using an IQ180, so USB3 is it.

    You are confirming what I have been leaning towards. I'd love to go on the workshop, but but have a trip to Yosemite the following week, so Wife trumps Dante unfortunately.

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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    WWDD?

    I recently shot at the Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley tethered with a SP3. I always carry the keyboard in the backpack as it helps protect everything, just remove it and set everything up and shoot. The one thing to remember is to place the keyboard back inside the bag and close it otherwise you'll have sand issues (please don't ask me how I know).

    The air vents on the SP3 are on the top however since I rotate it to use a shorter cable they are more protected on the bottom from blowing conditions. I did end up at the end using an entire can or air cleaning just the SP3 and just yesterday found I had to use an air compressor on the keyboard to loosen up a stuck key.

    I too had thought about a laptop however the form of the tablet is too perfect to mess with.

    Sorry we're going to miss you in Tahoe. Hey Ken, this might be an excuse for another video!

    Don
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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    Thanks Don. I did see a pic of your battle scarred SP3 a few days go. I think the Surface is the way to go. I am so happy for my wife now, she doesn't have to scratch her head anymore wondering what to get me for my birthday in 10 days, besides, I think she gets educational pricing on it as well
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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    Another option you have that I'm using now is a "convertible" laptop like the Lenovo Yoga. I have a 13" and just started using it with an IQ180 and it serves the purpose very well.

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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    Quote Originally Posted by rhern213 View Post
    Another option you have that I'm using now is a "convertible" laptop like the Lenovo Yoga. I have a 13" and just started using it with an IQ180 and it serves the purpose very well.
    Interesting! I hadn't heard of the Yoga until now and did a Google on it.

    It looks like the keyboard folds under the screen making a tablet. What I'd be concerned with is the weight difference. The SP3 with keyboard removed weighs 1.76 lbs and the 13" Yoga weighs between 2.6 and 3.1 depending on configuration.

    How are you using it? Inside or outside? I'd also be interested in how you're tethering when outside; have you found a sturdy enough bracket for it? I really like the idea of having 2-USB3 ports.

    Nice find!

    Which one do you have, the Yoga 2 Pro or Yoga 3 Pro? I like the 3 Pro myself....
    Don Libby
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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    i wish apple would have an ipad pro that has a firewire cable. i love my aptus 12 but really would like to tether in the field

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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    I haven't done real extensive outdoor testing as I just got the IQ180 last week. It was mostly indoor testing, and I just took it outside for a quick run through.

    It essentially is just hinged in a way that allows the screen to flip all the way flat on the back of the laptop.

    It definitely is a good amount heavier than a dedicated tablet. If you're just holding it up from the side with the palm of your hand it would be difficult for an extended period of time. However if you cradle it on your forearm it's fairly easy. This is considering the 13.3" version that I have, i'm sure the 11" is a good bit lighter, but you loose some good real estate on the screen. It's not ideal but it's manageable to me.

    The one big issue with the Yoga is when in tablet mode, the keyboard is completely exposed underneath, which can be very problematic in bad outdoor conditions. Considering this, there are other companies that make the same convertible style laptops where the screen flips over on top of the keyboard so it's not exposed when in tablet mode.

    To be honest if you don't mind having more computers I would probably go with the SP instead. If you want to be a minimalist like I am, then I would highly consider the convertible style laptops.

    My reason for using it is to minimize all the hardware I have. I hate having my workflow in 4 different mediums. Now I have a Desktop, MBP, the Yoga, and an Ipad. The MBP will be gone since I don't need firewire anymore, and I could do without the Ipad. Then I'll have the Yoga as both my main laptop and tethering device. Considering the amount of time I spend tethering as opposed to working in a normal environment, I would rather put up with a heavier tethering tablet than a put up with a small main laptop.

    My priority now is to see if I can find a good 13" convertible laptop that when folded covers the keyboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Interesting! I hadn't heard of the Yoga until now and did a Google on it.

    It looks like the keyboard folds under the screen making a tablet. What I'd be concerned with is the weight difference. The SP3 with keyboard removed weighs 1.76 lbs and the 13" Yoga weighs between 2.6 and 3.1 depending on configuration.

    How are you using it? Inside or outside? I'd also be interested in how you're tethering when outside; have you found a sturdy enough bracket for it? I really like the idea of having 2-USB3 ports.

    Nice find!

    Which one do you have, the Yoga 2 Pro or Yoga 3 Pro? I like the 3 Pro myself....

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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    Oh and one more thing that's a plus about the Yoga, you can install 2 internal SSD's :-)

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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    Okay now you're just showing off
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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    So much for waiting for the Macbook Air Retina. The low power CPU and just plain silly USB setup rules it out. If it had a proper USB 3, may have been in play.

    Looks like the Surface. I did play with the Dell XPS13 QHD at MWC last week. The screen is stunning, and the whole package is quite slick. It is one pound heavier than the SP3 though.

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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    Quote Originally Posted by jagsiva View Post
    So much for waiting for the Macbook Air Retina. The low power CPU and just plain silly USB setup rules it out. If it had a proper USB 3, may have been in play.

    Looks like the Surface. I did play with the Dell XPS13 QHD at MWC last week. The screen is stunning, and the whole package is quite slick. It is one pound heavier than the SP3 though.

    Wait... USB type C is still USB 3.0 for real, right? All you need is the right USB cable for tethering.. Now for those of us hoping for one with thunderbolt so we can have firewire... SOL.

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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    Quote Originally Posted by jianghai View Post
    Wait... USB type C is still USB 3.0 for real, right? All you need is the right USB cable for tethering.. Now for those of us hoping for one with thunderbolt so we can have firewire... SOL.
    Right in theory, but my experience is that this stuff is so finicky that its better to stick with stuff that has been tried. We have enough bleeding edge stuff with DB's and tech cams

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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    Quote Originally Posted by jianghai View Post
    Wait... USB type C is still USB 3.0 for real, right? All you need is the right USB cable for tethering.. Now for those of us hoping for one with thunderbolt so we can have firewire... SOL.
    I'm still crossing my fingers (and looking at monoprice.com) for any sort of USB-C to Firewire adapters...
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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    Is there something different about USB-C that allows jumping over the Firewire protocol? I am under the impression that it is not feasible because USB is a different protocol than Firewire, and a simple adapter won't work.

    Leave it up to Apple to be either at the cutting edge or at the edge of obsolete or difficult to obtain connectors. I couldn't find any USB-C to USB3 B male cords---which is the side that plugs into a USB3 capable IQ/Credo MFDB. If anyone could make one, it would be at USB Firewire HDMI Data Custom Cables

    And, no guarantees that this type of USB-C cord would be successful for tethering either.

    ken

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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    Apple sells an adapter from the female USB-C to a standard female USB connector with the new macbook, so tethering over USB should not be a problem.
    Firewire is definitely not an option, however. Neither is thunderbolt, BTW. Looks like firewire and thunderbolt are going the way scsi did.

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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    We're going to get a new Macbook here at Capture Integration and verify USB tethering.

    I'm surprised about thunderbolt, given that it was so (relatively) recently released. I wonder why they decided to get rid of it.
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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    This regarding USB-C may be of interest.

    USB-C in 12-Inch MacBook Adds Limitations but Opens Up Possibilities - Mac Rumors

    Cheers, -Peter
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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    A surface pro 3 seems to be the best bet,
    More challenging is the cable management (unless used wifi) and the tripod-support management.
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    Re: Lightweight tethering options

    On Thunderbolt, as much as it is associated with Apple, I think the IPR is with intel, and they have been fleecing the royalties. Ironically, it us appear to be picking up some momentum on the Windows side, but we all know how Apple likes to be in charge, so here we go with another port. I'm ok with this as long as it is the standard port on all IOS devices going forward as well, but I doubt it.

    As far as tethering goes, there is little keeping this cable in, so not sure how it will be in practice. Looking forward to the CI tests.

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